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U.S. hears the beat of macarena dance craze

August 22, 1996
Web posted at: 2:00 p.m. EDT

(CNN) -- The thumping Spanish beat just makes your feet want to dance. Your hips swing, and your body shakes all over. The macarena, recorded by Spanish flamenco artists Los del Rio two years ago, has suddenly caught fire.

It set a record recently in Britain by jumping 63 places on the pop music singles chart into the top 10, and is a chart-topping hit in virtually every European country.

The new dance craze has made its way to Beirut, Bosnia and Brisbane. And it's leaped to the United States, where 50,000 hip-swinging baseball fans wiggled their way to a world line-dancing record at Yankee Stadium.

Rafael Ruiz and Romero Monge of Los del Rio are quick to point out that they aren't new -- they've been making music for more than 30 years.

They attribute the macarena's success to its hypnotic -- some say irritating -- beat and to some spiritual value attached to the name, which means "mother of God."

Diana Patricia, the Venezuelan flamenco dancer who inspired the song, says it has been interpreted in some more earthy ways.

"They asked me to dance and when I went on the stage, they began to sing, 'Give your body happiness, macarena,'" she says.

These days, you just have to macarena to be anybody.

Instructions for the hand-jiving dance have even been published in newspapers, but it doesn't matter if you haven't got it quite right -- the beat will take you there.

From CNN's Kathleen Barnes.

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